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Re: OA as provision against salami and double publishing

From: Bernie Sloan

I figured Phil Davis would weigh in on this at some point.  :-)

Phil's original paper cites a paper of mine as one of a half 
dozen illustrations of duplicate publication by the publisher in 
question. The abstract of Phil's paper begins: "It is unethical 
to republish a journal article without citing the original 

I'm not quibbling with the points that Phil makes in his 
paper...I think he has many valid points. But earlier posts 
regarding the recent item in Nature, etc., seem to imply that 
authors sometimes do this to inflate their publication records 
for their vitae. That wasn't the case for me. I was approached by 
the editor of the second journal who told me that he wanted to 
reprint my article in his journal because he thought his 
readership would find it useful. In the spirit of being helpful I 
said "yes", especially since this second journal was published by 
the publisher who held the copyright to my original paper. I did 
not know that they would not state that it was a republication.

I've always been aboveboard about this. The entry in my vita 

Allocating Costs in a Consortial Environment: A Methodology for 
Library Consortia. The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances 
11:65-71 (Number 2, 1998). Also reprinted in: OCLC Systems and 
Services 15: 45-52 (Number 1, 1999).

Bernie Sloan


Phil Davis <pmd8@cornell.edu> wrote:

Joachim.Meier wrote, "Well organized OA could be an efficient
provision against salami publishing and double publishing."


Several years ago I released the details of a highly-organized,
republishing practice of a medium-sized publisher who had been
republishing articles without attribution in at least 73 of its
journals between 1975 and 2003 [1, 2]. The evidence for this came
not from Open Access, as this publisher does not publish OA
journals, but from simple manual searching of their journal
database, which indicated hundreds of identical titles and
abstracts among its publications.

It is very difficult to believe that I was the first to spot
republication. Even before this publisher produced its own
web-searchable database, many of their journals were indexed in
Library Literature, LISA, ABI/Inform, and by other abstracting
services. Conscientious librarians and researchers must have
spotted republication in the process of doing literature reviews
since no effort to obscure the title or abstract were undertaken
by the publisher. Triplicate publication (see example 1) would
have stood out like a sore thumb to anyone serious about ethical
practices of publishing. Even more amazing were articles
republished in the *same journal* after only a short period of
time, in example 2 below, only months apart.

Why do we become shocked to discover that duplicate publication
has even soiled the pages of Nature and other top-tier journals?
My only explanation is that we are dealing with ethical standards
that are applied so unevenly across the academic literature. We
trust the leading journals and hold them to a higher standard
because their editorial boards take such care in trying to
prevent fraud and abuse.

The kind of massive and systematic republishing that I documented
[1, 2] simply could not have taken place in the pages of
prestigious journals. It could only have taken place in journals
that people neither read nor care about, and Open Access to this
publisher's content would not have made a whiff of difference in
preventing it from happening. The incentive to republish was too
strong, and the consequences for being caught simply too weak.

Example 1.

"A Cost-effectiveness Study of Changing Medical Practise in Early
Pregnancy," Journal of Management in Medicine 11 no.6 (1997):

and again as:

"A Cost-effectiveness Study of Changing Medical Practise in Early
Pregnancy," Clinical Performance in Quality Healthcare 7 no.4
(1999): 172-177

and a third time as:

"A Cost-effectiveness Study of Changing Medical Practise in Early
Pregnancy," British Journal of Clinical Governance 4 no.4 (1999):

Example 2.

"Inequality between Genders in the Executive Suite in Corporate America:
Moral and Ethical Issues." Equal Opportunities International 22, no. 8
(2003): 1-19.

and less than one year later in the same journal as:

"Inequality between Genders in the Executive Suite in Corporate America:
Moral and Ethical Issues." Equal Opportunities International 22, no. 2
(2003): 40-58.

[1] Davis, P. M. (2005). The Ethics of Republishing: A Case Study of
Emerald/MCB University Press Journals. Library Resources & Technical
Services, 49(2), 72-78. http://hdl.handle.net/1813/2572

[2] Davis, P. M. (2005). Article duplication in Emerald/MCB journals is
more extensive than first reported: Possible conflicts of financial and
functional interests are uncovered. Library Resources & Technical
Services, 49(3), 138-150. http://hdl.handle.net/1813/2574

Philip M. Davis
PhD Student
Department of Communication
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
email: pmd8@cornell.edu